Hardwood floors are elegant, they have a character of their own, they are inviting and they are warm. They are sturdy, reliable and extremely durable. But they are also a costly and expensive flooring option which needs to be maintained properly so as to retain its shine and sheen for years to come.
While they need daily, weekly, monthly and even annual maintenance, the methods used are quite inexpensive and hassle free. These cleaning methods, however, keep the floor free from dust, dirt, sand, stains and scratches. But there is another type of damage which is also quite common to hardwood floors. It is the fading and discolouration which takes place due to exposure to the heat of the sunrays and the UV radiations which accompany them.
This damage, if left unchecked for a period of time, tends to make the hardwood floor loose its intrinsic colour in patches that are exposed to the sunlight. While some discolouration might add to the character of the hardwood floor, too much of it makes it loose its charm and beauty. Thus damage happening to hardwood floors due to exposure to the sunrays needs to be prevented by:
- Blinds and curtains: Hanging floor to ceiling blinds or curtains on windows and doors is a good option to try. Once drawn during the day, it helps to keep both the heat and light of the sun away from the floors. It also adds to the aesthetics of the room thus making it look cosily beautiful. But care must be taken to hang heavy drapes especially during the hot summer months when the intensity of the sun rays is the maximum. During winter when there is less of the sun seen, hanging lighter drapes will suffice.
- Installing window tints or film: This is the most effective option to block out damage caused to hardwood floors by the sun. Installing window films is also a cost effective round the clock and year round solution which can be applied to old window glass already present in the house or when installing new ones.. This helps to block about 98% of the infrared heat and 99% of UV rays present in the sun rays, from entering the room. At the same time it prevents the view outside from getting blocked and also allows enough natural light to make the room look bright.
- Natural landscaping: For people who have ample space outside their windows, creating a natural landscape using plants, shrubs, grasses etc., serves a dual purpose. It not only helps to block out the sunrays but also adds beauty to the exterior of the house.
- Furniture rotation: Keeping furniture in the same place over a long period of time, results in patches of the floor getting discoloured. Hence the arrangement of the furniture, electrical gadgets and other things kept on the floor, should be regularly changed to ensure both:
- The slowing down of the fading and
- Balance out the discolouration.
- Awnings: Both retractable and stationary designs of awnings can be installed outside the window. They help to minimise the entry of the sunrays into the room thereby preventing the floors from getting damaged. In fact today they are also available in a number of styles and designs which also make the house look pretty on the outside.
While some degree of fading is inevitable, following the above ways and means will tone down the degree substantially. This will not only help to retain the beauty of the hardwood floor but also ensures that the floor remains healthy and free from damage.